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Old 07-02-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: South Portland, ME
889 posts, read 1,015,109 times
Reputation: 889

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I can never decide where I want to travel to next, so I'm trying to come up with an algorithm to help me. Does anyone have any suggestions for criteria which can be used to rank destinations differently?

For example, one criteria is purchasing power. I assume that places where the purchasing power is less than the USA will be cheaper to visit, and ones with higher purchasing power will be more expensive, so I give lower PP a high numerical value (and vice versa).

Another is whether or not a VISA is required. If a VISA is NOT required, then that destination gets a higher numerical value than a destination where a VISA is required - since getting a VISA can often be expensive and a hassle.

Some others are: flight cost, distance, UNESCO sites (aka stuff to see), country size, english speaking, number of "big cities" (population over 1 million), number of neighbors, currency exchange rate, "Satisfaction with Life Index", "Global Peace Index", and whether or not there is a "Travel Warning" for that particular destination.

So any suggestions on criteria I may be overlooking?
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,660,022 times
Reputation: 7720
An algorithm to decide where to go? Good Lord! I'll bet you're "fun" to travel with!

Have you ever just jumped in the car or on a plane and gone somewhere randomly? You're making travel an exercise in control rather than a thrilling adventure.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: SW MO
1,238 posts, read 4,039,585 times
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We usually decide on a "type" of destination first-do we want beach, mountains, historical, city, desert, nature, roadtrip or one location? Sometimes the deciding factor is opportunity. For example, when we went to Japan it was because a Japanese friend was going home to visit family and offered to guide us around the country for 2 weeks. Certainly not as "purchasing power" friendly as other places, but we couldn't pass it up!
Once we decide on the type of travel, I start researching locations. Magazines, online, recommendations from friends etc. Top priorities are overall cost (I guess that would be "purchasing power") and things to do or see. Since we like to go slightly off the beaten path I make sure that adequate food and lodging is available as well as other amenities we require. Then I narrow it down to 2 or 3 choices, present them to my husband, and we decide together on the final destination.
That's it! No hard and fast rules, since we will go someplace more expensive in order to experience something truly unique and wonderful. Sometimes the cheapest attractions are a pleasant surprise. That is the beauty of travel-plan carefully, but leave room for spontaneity since you never know what will happen day to day. You can enjoy the experience so much more if you are flexible.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,354,415 times
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I understand your desire for algorithms, I myself use spreadsheets to compare different kinds of trips. So go for it, if it's fun for you. But once that's all done, there is your gut. You can't always quantify things like historical or cultural interest.

Definitely exchange rates and purchasing power are big ones for me. As is cultural diversity, ease of getting around, and to some extent safety. But then all the subjective things come into play, like ambience, cuisine, personal attraction, history.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:21 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,548 posts, read 39,934,465 times
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Quote:
You can't always quantify things like historical or cultural interest.
Yeah, too much FUN to be had for this engineer / statistician to rely on an algorithm to be accurate enough for my tastes.

You can probably make up a bucket list that way, but my numbers would frequently get OUTWEIGHED by 'reality check'.

I wouldn't bother, instead, spend the time educating yourself about WHERE you WANT to go. Since I'm Frugal, I would have VERY miserable trips to VERY undesirable locations. I will stick with my gut / brain.
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,682 posts, read 33,681,492 times
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Okay, write this down:

1. Where do I want to go?

2. Can I afford it?

The end.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: South Portland, ME
889 posts, read 1,015,109 times
Reputation: 889
Quote:
We usually decide on a "type" of destination first-do we want beach, mountains, historical, city, desert, nature, roadtrip or one location? Sometimes the deciding factor is opportunity. For example, when we went to Japan it was because a Japanese friend was going home to visit family and offered to guide us around the country for 2 weeks. Certainly not as "purchasing power" friendly as other places, but we couldn't pass it up!
No, I agree. Sometimes external factors make the decision easy. In 2010 I was already going to South Africa for the World Cup, but I had more vacation time than I needed to spend in South Africa, so I looked into having a "long layover" for about a week somewhere else. I eventually settled on Gabon since someone that I knew had recently moved to Libreville, so I figured it was the perfect time to go. I definitely wouldn't have gone there if it wasn't for that, and before I got ahold of them to finalize it I had been looking into plenty of different options - Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Uruguay, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. I probably would have needed an algorithm to help me decide if it wasn't for the personal touch. lol

However, other times you just want to go somewhere, but don't have any idea (or particularly care) where. That's what I'm trying to make this for.

Like right now, for example, my girlfriend and I are trying to decide on our next vacation. We've already been to almost 30 countries combined, and we have "narrowed down" our choices to one of Iceland, Ireland, India, Ghana, New Zealand, or Peru. All vastly different destinations. How can you choose between them? It's difficult! So I'm trying to come up with a way to do that!


Right now, based on the (still incomplete) formula that I've come up with for us, our "top 5" destinations would be:

1. United Kingdom
2. Jamaica
3. Germany
4. Peru
5. Portugal
-
15. Ghana
23. Iceland
30. India
36. Ireland
52. New Zealand

So according to this, if we stick to our narrowed down list, we should probably look into Peru. Or maybe we should parlay a trip to Ireland and go to the United Kingdom as well? But I'm still trying to tweak it...

My very first, original draft had Costa Rica as #1. We went there in 2011 and loved it. So I must be on to something! (and the only reason it's not at the top anymore is because I've put in a variable for "been there" - if we've already been somewhere then it gets knocked way down the list so that new locations we haven't been to show up on top.)
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,241,442 times
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I actually prefer places with Travel Warnings. Not so much tourist riff-raff cluttering up the place.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:55 AM
 
Location: South Portland, ME
889 posts, read 1,015,109 times
Reputation: 889
Well here's what I have so far, put it on a website: Where Should I Go?

I've come up with 13 criteria + months for 140 countries based on my personal experience and minimal research.

There's not much content but the algorithm works, which is the most important part.


My idea is to take the ratings and then give "weight" to it.


Quote:
I actually prefer places with Travel Warnings. Not so much tourist riff-raff cluttering up the place.
Put -100 as the weight for travel warnings and it'll put those near the top. Mexico becomes #1 followed by Colombia, Haiti, Iran, and Philippines.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:33 AM
 
9,190 posts, read 9,269,502 times
Reputation: 28789
My criteria:

1. Pretty scenery whether it be natural scenery or man-made wonders.

2. Ability to engage in physical activities like walking, hiking, swimming, parasailing, skiing, etc.

3. Good temperatures and a climate that doesn't involve too much rain.

4. Ease of communicating with people in the country (language issues).

5. Perceptions of safety in the country or state. (crime and law enforcement)

6. Historical value of the area.

7. Friendliness of the people in the area.

8. Cost of traveling in the area.

9. Availability of travel packages.

10. Cost of airfare
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